Southeast Asia 2018
- Peninsula City Hopping
- Pig Out 1/3
- Pig Out 2/3
- Pig Out 3/3
- Hong Kong Déjà Vu
- Unfinished Business in Singapore
- Exploring Kuala Lumpur
- Week-Long Birthday in Thailand
- Wats in Bangkok
- Bangkok Food Scenes
- Ayutthaya Road Trip on a Full Stomach
- Vacation Within Vacation on Koh Samui
- Farewell Thailand
That’s the number of unread work emails that I had at this point. I’m simultaneously proud and ashamed to say this, but that number hadn’t reached this low in over six years. In fact, that inbox probably hadn’t been empty since the day I started on this job. Anticipation for this vacation had been the sole purpose of my existence since summer, so I couldn’t allow anything to get in its way. Definitely not the thought of an unread work email.
Zero is also the number of sugary beverages I had had thus far into 2018. Boba and soda are among the primary pleasures in my day-to-day life, so I do not take diets like this lightly. Because of our grand plan to pig out on this vacation, however, Hong and I decided to accumulate some savings on our nutritional karma.
That diet came to an end. Now.
This wasn’t just a Coke on the Rocks. It signified the official kick-off of our journey.
Peninsula City Hopping
Hong has super awesome parents who, once again, offered to watch the kids and let us do whatever we wanted for a while. That’s incredible generosity. I wouldn’t even volunteer babysitting my own kids.
As such, our original vacation idea of “taking the family to see Bangkok” quickly evolved into a game of maximizing our footprint in Southeast Asia. In 13 days, we were to visit 7 cities, transiting through 8 airports and flying 6 airlines. Most of this time was to be spent on the Malay Peninsula.
We spent a combined total of 12 hours in Hong Kong and Taipei, so this trip was almost entirely along the peninsula
The points & miles game both allowed and forced us to think of travel as a collection of one-ways rather than a single round trip. Probably seen as irritating to those with a laser focus on particular destinations, but suited us greedy wanderlusters just fine. Our itinerary was partially determined by award flight availability, but each obstacle turned into an opportunity: no option flying straight into Thailand? Hey we’d never mind stopping in Singapore again. Long layovers on the way? Hurray for the side missions we could now afford.
I was equally excited about being pampered on trans-Pacific business class flights, and traveling on low-cost carriers on the local routes. We looked forward to experiencing renowned high-end dining, and drooled thinking about all the food that we’d have off the street. This trip was gonna be so awesome.
Chilling in the Cathay Pacific lounge, waiting to board our first flight
Special thanks to Gillian and Cindy, my two coworkers who recently went to Thailand, for partially sponsoring our trip with their remaining cash. It’s not a small sum in USD equivalent, and would go a long way in Thailand.
Feeling wealthy with my handful of Thai baht
Happy Lunar New Year
Traditional new year festivities, at least for the Han Chinese, last for fifteen days. Or so I was told – I don’t know anyone who had ever done the full length of it. Even in Taiwan, most workers only had three days off, and the school winter break would end roughly a week into the New Year. We’d be productive for a week and then get Yuan Xiao (the 15th) off again. This fifteen-days-of-new-year idea was so abstract that I sometimes thought of it as a myth, but the back of my mind always yearned for it.
By pure coincidence, we’d be flying out of the country on New Year’s Day, and landing back on Yuan Xiao. In other words, for the first time in my life, I get to take off the entire official lunar new year. No work. No school. Just play.
Forgot to put on my red suit, which I never bought, for the occasion
Since this trip was focused more on food than anything else, I’ll start with a few posts dump-listing everything we ate, before going into the more chronological trip report. Enjoy 🙂